I've mentioned before that we're trying a Montessori-esque approach when it comes to Xavier's toys and playtime. I am by NO means strict about it, and like to think I'm a fairly laid-back mom in general. But I have noticed that when Xavier has the freedom to choose his own activities, which is a principle of Montessori, he is entertained for longer and seems to enjoy what he's doing more. I'm also a huge proponent of toys and activities that stimulate creativity, imagination and open-ended play, rather than toys that light up or sing or generally have to played with in one certain way. Different things work for everyone, and this is what works for us.
I get most of my ideas from Pinterest. I typically type something along the lines of "Montessori toys 6 months" or "Montessori activities 9 months" or whatever age Xav is at the time. There will be a ton of results, so I just scan until something catches my eye. Usually it's a basket of items I know we have already, or an activity using things we already have laying around. I keep it really simple, and aim to have just 3-4 baskets, and only try ONE new activity per week (which, to be honest, usually doesn't happen.)
Here are three ideas for Montessori-inspired "treasure baskets" that are currently out on Xavier's toy shelves!
CONTAINS: two corks (be sure they're large enough that baby can't swallow them; champagne corks do the trick), seashells, driftwood, smooth river rock, greenery orb (fake) and airplant (fake)
SOURCES: corks are from champagne we drank, seashells, driftwood, greenery orb and airplant from Hobby Lobby, river rock from the thrift store
CONTAINS: wooden tree, wooden egg, two napkin rings, star puzzle thing (?), smooth wooden grasping toy.
SOURCES: wooden tree, egg and grasping toy are from Hobby Lobby (in the woodworking aisle), napkin rings and star puzzle are from the thrift store
CONTAINS: a whisk, a basting brush, wooden spoons, a wooden meat tenderizer, tablespoon set and flexible funnel.
SOURCES: large whisks and tablespoon set from Hobby Lobby, foldable funnel from our kitchen, everything else from the thrift store!
For thrift store items, I spray everything down with plain white vinegar to start out, since vinegar is a natural disinfectant. Then I wash everything in VERY hot, soapy water, making sure to scrub all the nooks and crannies since he will most likely be putting everything in his mouth.
He does seem to be getting a little bored with these three baskets, and since they've been out awhile, I'm planning on switching them up next week. I like the idea of an autumn-themed basket, and once the leaves turn, plan to find and laminate some to use for play, sort of like this flowers exploration.
Here are a few more ideas for babies of different ages:
- Grasping play for 3-6 month olds (the loofahs are a great idea!)
- More treasure basket ideas
- Toys + baskets for older baby (17 months)
Are you a fan of Montessori, or some other method? What toys do your babies love most? I'm always on the lookout for new ideas! XO!